"The unmulched garden looks to me like some naked thing which for one reason or another would be better off with a few clothes on."...Ruth Stout, The Ruth Stout No-Work Garden Book, 1971
What is a weed?
Just a plant out of place? Maybe so. "Any plant whose virtues have not been discovered" (Emerson). Maybe. "No more than a flower in disguise" (Lowell). Probably. In nature there is no such thing as a weed. So here we go. (more)
Homemade Insecticidal Soap
To eliminate the cost and more importantly the use of chemicals in your garden, why not make a great homemade insecticidal soap.
This is a very lazy recipe. Two tablespoons of your favorite dishwashing detergent to one gallon of water. Pour in a spray bottle and you are good to go.
A drop or two of cooking oil can be used to make the soap stick if you'd like. Not entirely necessary.
Be sure to spray both the top and the bottom of the leaves. And do not spay in the heat of the day because sun scald might occur.
This is an excellent preparatory spray for bringing in houseplants for the winter.
Japanese Beetle Mix
This recipe is to be used in the height of the Japanese Beetle season.
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 mashed banana
- 1 pkg yeast
Mix all ingredients in a milk jug. Place the jug (with the top off) in an area where Japanese Beetles gather. The bugs to in but not out.
A very organic way to go after those beetles.
Emily: Dandelions are attacking my daffodils!
Dear Emily: Bunches of these dandelions are attacking the wild daffodils, they won't stop & they don't just come droves, they come in groups, not droves, groups! What the heck do I need to do to destroy them for good?
A: We usually let overlapping plants fight it out. Whichever wins, we plant more of it. We get lot stronger plants that way.
Ok, that may not be that helpful.
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) probably arrived in the US in colonial times for its edible greens (if collected early in the spring they are not so bitter) and for its flowers which were used to make dandelion wine. Since then, we have progressed to white zinfandel. The dandelion is a perennial that reproduces by seed and from pieces of taproot.
The best method to get rid of them is to pick them in the spring before they generate much of a tap root. If you leave even a small part of the taproot, it will come back.
According to the "Southern Living Garden Problem Solver", you should maintain a year round mulch to prevent the seeds from germinating. They suggest, for chemical control, "a selective post emergence herbicide like Weed-B-Gone or Weed-Stop." Of course, be careful with herbicides around the dafs.
Use a layer of black and white newspaper to prevent weed seed from germinating. It's safe and works wonders. It will decompose nicely.
Mulch to prevent weeds.
Pour boiling water into cracks and near buildings to help kill weeds.
Be sure to get as much of the root when weeding.
Weed after a rain or after watering for easier results.
When introducing new plant material, double check your source and be careful not to bring in new problems.Tip: Rotate! Rotate! Rotate! As realtors say "location, location, location", so goes the chant of the gardener. Rotation will prevent all sorts of problems. Confusing disease and insects is fun for me.